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Lewandowski talks Barcelona future, captaincy, Champions League exit, Golden Boot, season objectives



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Robert Lewandowski sat down with Mundo Deportivo to talk about his experience in the FIFA World Cup. He also offered his thoughts on his future at Barcelona and the club’s prospects during the remainder of the campaign.

“We have a few weeks to prepare for the next game. Maybe I have two more weeks, but the rest of the season will be very hard with a very long schedule. We start on December 31 and the last game will be in June. We will have many parties but you have to be prepared for this type of difficult path,” Lewandowski said about his return to Barcelona.

The forward will not be eligible to feature against Espanyol at the end of the month, thanks to a three-match suspension. In the interview, the Pole offered a rather coy response when asked about his altercation with the referee.

Lewandowski went on to talk about Poland’s performance in the World Cup, adding, “I think we achieved our goals. We played against France after a good first phase. In the first half we played well, we had a chance. After the break, we were not good enough but we only lost against the two teams that reached the final, France and Argentina. We could have played better but I insist: we achieved our goals.”

Moving on, the Polish international, aged 34, responded to a question about him potentially playing in the next World Cup. “It does not depend on my physique but on the aspects that surround soccer. I know I will be ready if I want to be there but it is too early to decide. Three and a half years remain, not four years. It is a lot and now I am focused on the next Euro Cup in 2024,” he replied.

Lewandowski will be 37 by the time the next World Cup in 2026 gets underway. But talking about the 2022 edition, the forward was satisfied with how it played out. He even praised the idea of the World Cup being held during mid-season.

“If the World Cup had been in June at the end of the course and the footballers would have been more tired making it impossible for them to play at this high level with that quality after 70 minutes. It was the beauty of the final, which was during the season. There is a big difference,” he said.

Moving on, Lewandowski was asked about Barcelona’s objectives during the remainder of the season.

“After four months in Barcelona, and back after the World Cup, we know that we have options to win the titles and of course we must think about it but each title is difficult. I hope that we can win the titles and that we are happy, but in Europe, we must first think about the tie against Manchester United, which will be very tough,” he said.

The forward talked about the Champions League exit, adding, “We know the mistakes we made in the Champions League against Bayern and Inter and now we must think about what we should improve on what we did not do two months ago, especially in the Champions League.”

“In the league, we go leaders and the next three matches will be very important for us to continue up against very tough rivals. We must prepare them and also the rest of the season, which will be long,” he further added.

“We must think about it of course. It is a great and difficult challenge and we must face it without saying that we have no options. No, we have them because we are first in the League. In the Europa League, maybe it’s too soon,” Lewandowski said when asked about Barcelona’s possibility of landing titles this season.

“First, you have to think about Manchester United but in the league, you have to put a lot of focus on each game both at Camp Nou and away from home. If we go from victory to victory, the League will be closer and closer to achieving it in the end,” he added.

Lewandowski went on to talk about his experience since joining Barcelona so far. He admitted the team’s faults in the Champions League but backed himself to not only help the team but also fulfil his contract at Camp Nou.

“In the Champions League we did not know exactly how to win or how to play to win but in the League we have done very well. We have very young players. The experiences we have had in the last months will be better for the next season or in what remains of it,” he said.

The forward backed himself to fulfil his contract, adding, “I am convinced that I will be prepared and well in the way as now. When I was 30 or 32 years old I wanted to play for three or four more years at a high level. That is why I do everything to be as long as possible. As long as I’m fit and want to win titles I’ll be here.”

On what drives him to play even at the age of 34, the former Dortmund striker added, “I remember that when I was 20 or 21 years old I started preparing my career not to reach 33 or 34 but I did everything to reach 37 years old playing high level. It always depends on how much you want to play. I wanted it not to depend on a physical topic and that’s why I worked for it.”

Lewandowski was also asked about the possibility of winning another Golden Boot title, especially at a time when his former Bundesliga nemesis Erling Haaland has already scored 18 goals in the Premier League.

“I don’t think about this, really, you can’t compare the Leagues and the clubs either. Each one has his goals, his problems. In the end, the important thing is to win matches and titles, of course, my goal is to help score goals, but I work for the team. I work thinking about helping the team, not thinking about myself. I know my performances can help win games,” he responded.

The Polish international was also asked about his scoring performance at Barcelona this season. The veteran added that he will be happy to have scored 30 goals in all competitions by the end of the season.

“Thinking of scoring 30 goals for my first season would be great. Of course, it is something that can happen. Now I will have three less games but I will also be cooler perhaps. I usually don’t have much time to get ready or do extra sessions with so many games. Now I can prepare for the rest of the season,” he said.

Lewandowski further talked about the possibility of him captaining the Barcelona team, especially with Gerard Pique retiring from professional football and Sergio Busquets having his contract expire at the end of the season.

“The truth is, I’m not thinking about this. I am very focused on the season so long ahead, with many games. For me it is not a subject that concerns me. For me the most important thing is to try to change the matches and help the players within the field so that they give their best. That will be seen after the season,” he said.

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